Basalt kids raise funds to save more rainforest | AspenTimes.com
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Basalt kids raise funds to save more rainforest

Basalt Elementary School students raised enough money to save 55 acres of rainforest last year, ranking them among the top 10 schools in the country in a special project.

The kids aim to retain their title this year.

They are collecting aluminum cans again to raise funds to buy and preserve additional rainforest acreage in South America. Students will also collect change from family and friends in recycled banks they are making in school, according to school librarian Tink Boyer, who is heading the project.

The kids collected $500 last year. The Aspen-based Community Office for Resource Efficiency (CORE) was so impressed by their effort that it added $2,000 in a grant through its Renewable Energy Mitigation Fund. That fund taxes homes that exceed an “energy budget” established by the city of Aspen.

The $2,500 was enough to buy 55 acres of rainforest through a partnership by the Earth’s Birthday Project and the Nature Conservancy, according to Boyer. The two nonprofit environmental groups have enticed kids since 1991 to get involved in efforts to preserve endangered rainforests.

They target a different part of the world each year. Last year’s funds helped buy rainforest in the Mata Atlantica region of Brazil. About one acre was purchased per $40 raised.

Schools have contributed more than $4 million to buy 175,000 acres since 1991, according to the Earth’s Birthday Project Web site, earthbirthday.org. The 10 schools that raise the most money receive special recognition each year.

Basalt Elementary School was the ninth highest fund-raiser for the Earth’s Birthday Project last year, Boyer said.

CORE Director Randy Udall said he felt a contribution to the effort was worthwhile because stopping rainforest destruction is one of the most important global issues.

“Deforestation globally is responsible for about one-fourth of greenhouse gas emissions,” he said. “It’s great to see that kids get it.”

According to some scientists, greenhouse gas emissions are responsible for global warming and other climate changes. Trees use carbon dioxide and prevent greenhouse gas emissions.

CORE will “definitely” provide a grant again to the Basalt students’ efforts, Udall said. He encouraged other community members to get involved.

Participants can bring aluminum cans to the school library every Wednesday morning. Boyer will take the cans to City Market and track the money earned. Contributions can also be made by contacting Boyer.

The fund-raising effort will continue through Earth Day on April 21.

[Scott Condon’s e-mail address is scondon@aspentimes.com]


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